Tracking unique visitor without cookies by analysing browser configurations with over 84% accuracy

For all of you online analysts out there that are scared of cookie deletion rates, private browsing modes and increasingly restrictive privacy laws, there’s hope!

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has an interesting project called Panopticlick that determines uniqueness of visitors without cookies by analysing the exact browser configuration of a person (i.e. version, fonts, plug-ins, etc). I just did the Panopticlick online browser uniqueness test and it seems that my browser configuration was unique among the so far tested 993,912 people. Go do the test now and help these guys increase their sample size.

EFF found that 84% of the configuration combinations were unique and identifiable, creating unique and identifiable browser “fingerprints.” Browsers with Adobe Flash or Java plug-ins installed were 94% unique and trackable.
 
Of course the whole thing falls down if people use more than one browser or multiple computers and I’m one of these people (I’m actually running Safari, Chrome and Firefox at the same time sometimes which is sad, I know). Anyway, still a great idea if you ask me so check out the actual research paper below if you want to find out more or read the official press release.